Privacy and confidentiality of patient information

Information about your child and family is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy.

Contact details

SCHN Privacy Contact Officer

Locked Bag 4001

Westmead NSW 2145

Phone: (02) 9845 2356

Email: SCHN-MedicoLegal@health.nsw.gov.au

The Children's Hospital at Westmead is committed to safeguarding the privacy of the patient/client information and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act.

All staff are bound by the act and by NSW Health Privacy Policy.

Details of your child’s condition and treatment will be kept confidential. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of their employment.

Generally, we will not release the contents of your medical record without your consent. However, there are some occasions where we are required by law to release details, even without your consent, for example, under subpoena from the Courts, as part of a Medicare investigation or in the event of a notifiable disease.

Our doctors, nurses and other staff are bound by law, by NSW Health privacy policy and by a strict code of conduct to maintain confidentiality of patient information. For further information, refer to Sydney Children's Hospitals Network Your Childs information and Privacy leaflet.

The Privacy Acts and related legislation

Collection

We collect personal information so that we can provide your child with treatment and advice. Test results and further information collected while your child is being treated is kept with your medical record. We only collect information that is relevant and necessary for your child's treatment and to manage the health service.

While each Area Health Service facility maintains is own paper-based medical record, some of the information stored electronically is linked on an Area basis.

We collect information directly from you, wherever possible. We may need to collect information from other health professionals who have treated your child. In an emergency we may also need to collect information from a family member, friend, carer or other person who can help us to provide your child with the best care.

Your child's information may be held in paper or electronic files , including visual image and audio formats. We will take all reasonable steps to ensure the information we collect about your child is stored securely. We are required by law to retain medical records for certain periods of time depending on the type of record and facility. We have appropriate systems and policies in place to protect your child's information from loss, unauthorised access and misuse.

If you do not wish for us to collect certain information about your child, you need to tell us and we will discuss with you any consequences this may have for your child's health care.

Use and disclosure

We will use or disclose your information for purposes directly related to your child's treatment, and in ways that you would reasonably expect for your child's ongoing care. This may include the transfer of relevant information to your nominated GP, to the Ambulance Service, to another treating health service or hospital, to a specialist for a referral, for pathology tests, x-rays, and so on.

We are required to disclose some patient information to State and Commonwealth government agencies to comply with laws regarding the reporting of notifiable diseases and statistics, for example, the registering of births & deaths. Your personal information may be required as evidence in court when subpoenaed.

We may use or disclose patient information for billing, statutory reporting and other purposes required for the operation of the NSW health service, including safety and quality improvement initiatives and billing. For example, where relevant, we may need to disclose patient information to Medicare, private health funds, or NSW Health under the Public Health Act.

We may use your information to contact you regarding patient satisfaction surveys that help us to evaluate and improve our services.

We may use or disclose your information for the following purposes in accordance with Statutory Guidelines issued under privacy law:

  • for public interest research projects complying with strict protocols and approved by a Human Research & Ethics Committee
  • for staff and student training purposes,
  • for other planning, financial or management purposes for health service activities

The Statutory Guidelines ensure that where your information is needed for these purposes and it is impracticable to seek your consent, a minimum amount of personal information is used, and the personal information is handled in accordance with strict standards.

We will seek your consent prior to the use or disclosure of patient information for purposes other than those listed above, such as for fundraising activities.

Access to your child's information

You are entitled to request access to all personal information including your medical record held by Sydney Children's Hospitals Network or your child's record if you are the legal guardian. Click here to see how to gain access. You will be charged a search and processing fee if you request copies of your personal information or medical record. You are also entitled to view your medical record and must contact the medical record department to do so. A Health Information Manager or a clinician must be present for this.

Requests for non-personal information must be made under the Government Information Open Access (GIPA) Act 2010. Further information on GIPA

Access to your personal information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving access would put you or another person at risk of harm.

If you believe the information we hold about you is incorrect and an error has been made, please contact the Medical Records Department on (02) 9845 2356.

Requests for access to or correction of your medical record should be addressed to the Medical Record Department.

If you need to amendment patient details, such as patient name, date of birth or change of legal guardian, please complete the Amendment to Patient Details form and mail it to the appropriate hospital:

Medical Records Department, The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Medicolegal Section
Medical Records Department
Locked Bag 4001
Westmead NSW 2145
Tel: (02) 9845 2356

Medical Records, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

Health Information Unit
Sydney Children’s Hospital
C1 East, Level 1
High Street
Randwick NSW 2031
Tel: (02) 9382 3771

Your right to obtain information

The Government Information Public Access Act 2009 (GIPA) came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989. The GIPA Act is designed to meet community expectations of a more open and transparent Government for the people of NSW. In addition to the information supplied here, you may wish to find out more about:

Under the GIPA Act and other relevant legislation, we publish Government information, open access information and information that we don't disclose.

In addition to the information supplied here, you may want to:

Like more information?

Email the Right to Information Officer or call them on (02) 9845 3637.

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network
Locked Bag 4001
Westmead NSW 2145
Fax: (02) 9845 0510

Key privacy resources

Other Privacy resources that may be use to you:

Information regarding patient privacy is also available in other languages.

Complaints

If you have a complaint relating to your privacy on the grounds that you believe a health services provider has contravened an Information Protection Principle or Health Privacy Principle, you may wish to request an internal review to be carried out by Sydney Children's Hospitals Network.

Please contact the Privacy Contact Officer for Sydney Children's Hospitals Network on the number below.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may lodge an appeal with the Administrative decisions Tribunal, who will further investigate your complaint.

For further information:

  • Contact the SCHN Privacy Contact officer (details below)
  • Contact the Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner on telephone (02) 8868 8585 or go to the Privacy NSW website